Honestly, I didn't have a reaction to the SCOTUS leak at first. With the steady erosion of our rights and civil liberties over the past decade, it's been challenging to know how to react in moments like this.
I was curious about the language of the opinion and what the justices based their decision on because — as I've learned through my research into voting rights over the past decade — language matters. Lawmakers will take every opportunity they can to interpret language that gives them even a little bit of leeway to enact their agendas, especially when those agendas involve the expansion of the surveillance state, the criminalization of identities and access, and a chance to exploit and abuse poor and working people in this country — especially [those] who are Black, Brown, and Indigenous.
Then, I was furious. I thought about all the big and little decisions that made Roe v. Wade necessary in the first place, and all the political calculations that had been used to make this moment — this maneuver — possible. I was also incredibly frustrated by the coverage I saw last night. There was so much focus on this as a single moment in our nation's history, so much focus on edge cases, and so much focus on blaming voters and non-voters alike. None of these tells the true story about what the end of Roe v. Wade might mean to our communities.
As I previously wrote, The United States' approach to reproductive healthcare policy in this country has always been guided by eugenics. Lawmakers in this country are obsessed with the idea that families need to look or function a certain way. They pair their genocidal politics with policies and practices that make access to comprehensive healthcare wildly inaccessible and criminally expensive. Overturning Roe v. Wade is just another step toward completely eroding our civil liberties. Not only will this grant all 50 states license to completely ban abortions, but it will also allow them to criminalize and otherwise punish poor Black and Brown people — because women aren't the only people who need access to abortions — for seeking life-affirming care.
That means that instead of defunding the police and putting money back into our communities, our public funds will go toward expanding police departments and their mandates, expanding the surveillance infrastructure that already exists, and rewarding militant fascists who threaten the lives of abortion providers, seekers, and activists every day. We are beyond "precedent."
This has been the course for our country for a while now, and the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is just the latest in an onslaught of bad laws, policies, and decisions that make it dangerous to live in this country if you're anything other than white, cishetero, and affluent.
I have worked in politics now for about a decade. So I want to first say that there is a place for voting. Thirteen states have trigger bans in place, and yesterday we learned that the Republicans are poised to mount a national campaign to ban abortions in totality. These fights will absolutely be fought in the state legislatures, so if you are interested at all in supporting people in your communities who need access to care, do everything you can to take that fight to these chambers.
That goes beyond a simple vote every two or four years. It means plugging in to mutual aid groups in your community, doing research into and supporting abortion funds, and making life very uncomfortable for legislators who think your life is expendable and that your body belongs to them and the rule of law. Now is the time to defer to people who have been in the trenches on this issue for years and who have put their lives on the line to protect and secure our rights and civil liberties. They know best what's coming next.
The last thing I want to add here is that none of these policies or decisions happen in isolation. Everything is related: increases in rent, lack of affordable housing, low wages, increased criminalization of the choices we make day-to-day to live as our most authentic selves — practice vigilance and active solidarity.